Posts filed under ‘men of substance’
This anniversary week , of what used to be love and celebration, has arrived and with it gulping pain. Gulping, because I hold my breath to stop the tears from burning my eyes, blinding me , trying to breathe and all that happens is I gulp for air as the tears flow unabated.
Chris, the day of your birth , as you left me to start a life of your own also found tears , tears of happiness , I gulped and tried to breathe as the contractions became intense , waves of pain then too, but at the end of the pain insurmountable joy. My son, you my beautiful baby boy, put into my arms for the first time.
There were wonderful birthdays that followed but I hadn’t been able to remember them because of your last birthday . Your first and then your last birthday and remembered pain
Once again in a hospital , but I was not surrounded by those that loved me, just clinical cold and vacuous clowns.
My whole being was fraught with worry that morning , my insides were shaking and sick with fear, what would they find? My son going under a surgeon’s knife – cutting into your neck to see if the obscenity of the curable cancer had once again beaten the ” treatment”.. I just wanted to go somewhere quiet away from chatter with my thoughts. I didn’t want to be polite. I just wanted peace.
They coffee clutched the time away with their frivolous discussions of fashions, cake , birthdays and celebrations seemingly without thought of how this would affect those that did truly love you ). If there ever was a time where I heard my own grandmother’s voice it was then ” Remember Loraine, breeding will out”
I wanted to scream and shake them as the grandmother decided it would be a good time for a betting game- we were all supposed to pick a time from the time your name came on the big board informing us you were now in the operating room as to how long it would take for you to be under the knife and the time of the surgery .
“Angela, (Ritchey now Murphy http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147 ) it isn’t fair though you can’t be part of this as being a doctor you would know the answer – giggle, giggle, giggle” Lisa what do you say? Frank? 45 minutes, 55? an hour?
and so it went.
Nikki had excused herself and I was left alone with them. I ignored the game as best I could and tried to ignore them, all the while wishing they were somewhere else – anywhere but there, but the puerile woman would not shut up –
Come on Loraine you must have a guess, join in – otherwise you won’t win! Angela , do we have time to go to the cafeteria – Loraine isn’t it your birthday too in a couple of days – it is Chris’ today isn’t it – will you have a party, what kind of cake, will your mother be baking one or two?
Shut Up! are you all so damned insensitive you can’t see your imbecilic diatribe is ripping me apart, I don’t care about your nonsensical games , I am in torment that my son will die- can’t you see our pain you stupid,selfish people?
So I haven’t even been given the gift of remembering HAPPY birthday, as the gift I received that last birthday was the gift of death.
Surrounded by the clowns of control who carried on their narcissistic thinking and behaviors until the day you died and beyond.
And yet, this week I did receive a gift of you. I don’t know why , then again maybe I do ,but a video tape ( yes a VHS tape) fell out of a bag in the garage, your father, curious, picked it up. None of us can remember how or why the tapes were in the garage of all places – the basement- I could see but why they were in the garage that sits at the end of the garden separate , full of tools and junk is beyond me.
The tape, was of your sister dancing at an event when she was 21. Your dad brought in the bag of VHS tapes and started to play them. There you were, once again, your childhood played out in the pool, on the soccer field , rowing boats , Christmas morning, skiing laughing and loving with us .
I could only watch a little bit at a time as it too caused pain that is indescribable but it affirmed to me the gift of ” her thoughts”- that Nikki and I wouldn’t like) I received from your bride Angela Marie Lombardi Ritchey Murphy ( now remarried )
you know the “healer” – the words -
“I think your intense love for Chris shielded you from getting to know who he completely was.
and not forgetting how Dr. Angela ( Ritchey) Murphy wrote 4 months after Chris’s death writing to tell me
my son although he would defend me even when I didn’t deserve it – would put me in my place-
Angela’s gift of compassion??? so thoughtfully given…..
Yes, as painful as it was to look at my son enjoying his life with his family before those cretans of control and the insidious crew of cruelty and self entered our lives- watching what I could bear to watch of those tapes only reminded me that
I knew my son and he loved us and his place was with us and still should be .
My gift to you , Chris is my heart, the truth, and your story, the book I promised to write for you !
and the hope that one day I will be able to look upon your face ……
Every time I log in to the administration of this blog, I have to scroll down through all the months I have written and posted here. I see the years flash by as the mouse does it work. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you are drowning and I am drowning with the loss of you every single day. The calendar of years flashing by is just another reminder of how long you have left us -physically.
There are times when I am writing an opinion or delving into the chaos of the community when I long for your perspective. You always were succinct and to the point- you never wasted words ( you didn’t get that from me) but you always showed me another view or aspect even when we agreed.
This past month has found me caught up in a rather vitriolic and vicious to some, debate ( I use the word debate loosely). I know if I could have picked up the phone you would have given me a clearer and younger male perspective . Once again, I am just a shell of the me that was, floundering , drowning in doubt. Then, as I sat in the bedroom looking at your work that fills the walls, I remembered your counsel- sage and insightful beyond your years.
“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “
but with the warning :
Speech can segregate you from everyone
Thank you Chris , a timely reminder heeded- I still love you more than life itself …………..
Every third of the month finds me writing your story and trying , as so many mothers try to do, keeping your life from just becoming another HYPHEN in between- 1980- 2009.
We are all forgotten eventually until some researcher of some far-flung future family descendent will
“look us up” . Most will find government documents for their information source. Will there be a version of the internet in those distant future years I don’t know? Most of us have not done anything “notable” to be remembered”.
I am often told , “Everyone has a story” and they are right. Every living thing or being on this planet has a story – even the tiny butterfly I watched after the storm a few days ago . Winds and a deluge of rain whipped the trees into a frenzied dance , newly formed apples were ripped from the branches and pelted down onto the fragile blossoms of summer flowers, battering them into submission. The storm went as quickly and as destructively as it came.
I looked out on the mess that was the front garden , the French Hydrangea ( which everyone despises but me ) was holding more than the blossoms – minutes after the storm a Red Admiral Butterfly was supping from the rain drops left on the leaves. I wondered how this tiny delicate creature could be slaking its thirst, seemingly unscathed , moments after such a turmoil of nature. I wondered at the “story” of the butterfly because he/she too had one. Our stories remain untold unless someone “tells ” it .
For many months I have tried to start “the book” to tell your story . I couldn’t find a place to begin – nothing seemed to work as a beginning. Then, thanks to a facebook post from a writer, I followed a link. The writer used a quote- an epiphany of sorts – so I have begun the book- because you are writing/illustrating this book.
NO LIMITS By Loraine Ritchey
“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “
Brave words from my son, Christopher, on a fall day, his 4th year at Cleveland Institute of Art. I had met him for a meal in Tremont, Ohio. He was so very angry, one of his projects had met with resistance and indeed censorship. His anger and frustration spilled out:
Why were his thoughts not being accepted in a very community that accepts so much more than the general population? Why would he be censored in the very open environment of an art college where nothing it seemed was untouchable?
I will tell your story Chris- as hard as it is to write the whole of it ….. I will .. and I love you I so miss the in between , because that is all I have of you ………
It has been week of homesickness, not only for the country of my birth- England, but for my traditional values and a culture that still remain such an integral part of who I am. My cousin, has been visiting the old days, the family stories pulled out again , and laughter- something that I have not had too much of since losing my son.
I feel trapped by the values of others, I feel trapped by the thinking of the majority or those that have the power of the rules. It amazes me sometimes how this my new “hometown” has , by the sheer majority of religious beliefs and ethnic values” so differing for my own, has caused such unhappiness to this family.
Of course, I am talking about the Italian/ Polish religious community headed by Father Divis ( read Roman Catholic of St. Mary’s Lorain ) and we can do whatever we wish to do because thinking of the Lombardi Vyka Clan ( and now the Angela Murphy) control.
My son’s remains trapped in their toxic ground – without benefit of family . Of course Angela Lombardi Ritchey Murphy http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
has moved on – dumped the possessions( that were not of any monetary value) and art work of my son- as soon as she could – after our Chris’s death but held onto those ashes. Why? she was done with Chris after the 2nd stem cell transplant failed- the show -put on was good for the “community” and they did it well! But never the less it was a show – Does she still require that “grave” place for the depositing of vodka , beer cans, cake and balloons?
I am amazed at the thinking – how does a woman profess to be a healer and turn around with such coldness and callousness of control as to deny a father his son in the darkest hour of any parent’s life?
I would ask any father, any mother reading this to look at your son or your daughter, imagine the horror of helplessly standing by watching them fight for each breath , nursing them every day of those last months of life, watching them die , having information kept from you by the “in law family, helpless and then have your flesh and blood and the last vestige of your child taken without your input or any consideration as to your wishes. Look at your son or daughter , try to imagine the pain and grief at losing them and you tell me tell me what these people did was right-
to put your son in a cemetery of their faith without you even being told they were doing so- and now of course “their moving on” Sue Lombardi , Tim Lombardi now mother and father in law to another Chris ( Murphy) – the do over wedding –
and all is forgotten but as long as my son remains in that place of disrespect- I will not forget.
We tip toe around the edges of Fathers Day- whilst his daughter tries so hard to be both of his children- the fact her brother is no longer here to share the breakfast at McDonald’s ( a tradition started when they were both little) . There is always the reminder Chris -
There is a tenaciousness being British- we don’t as a true Brit ever give up- I am not sure that is a good trait- so much easier to go with the flow- give in to the majority of put it away, move on, forget it, nothing we can do apathy , why try you are in the minority, thinking that pervades this community. But apart from being British I am also a mother and I carry my son in my heart and soul and his DNA in my body! Emotionally and physically he is with me still and always will be.
The waste of trying to make a difference lost on the “altars” of those who have the power.
So another Fathers Day- another reminder of wonder at the children given life- and another reminder of a death and a cruelty given to a Father who loved unconditionally.
To be continued
The sky was robin egg blue this morning, the lake kissed with silver and gold. The air cooling to those of fevered brow. A day of glory, when all young men and woman who have given their everything are to be thanked for giving us the peace of this day with the freedom to enjoy. Their voices are stilled , their presence hidden from our world and yet they speak and are heard in the laughter of each child who is without fear of living in this city on the shore. Their presence can be felt when the voices of debate are raised in opposing ideas.
This is their gift to us who remain- we must not forget , we must cherish the gift of life they have given to us and maybe just maybe if we are quiet and still in our reflection as their symbol of country is flown against the robin egg blue sky they will hear our gratitude and know their sacrifice was not in vain.
Eric Barnes Heroes Walk
Army 1st Sgt. Bruce Horner – Son of Ed and Betty Horner
Died June 1, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom assigned to the 127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Support Command, Fliegerhorst, Germany; died in Seddah of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire.
Airman 1st Class Eric Barnes – Son of Tom and Shary Barnes
Died June 10, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom assigned to the 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; died as result of an improvised explosive device attack on an Air Force convoy about 100 miles south of Baghdad.
Marine Lance Corporal David Hall son of Delmar and Lulu Hall
Died August 31, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Aug. 31 in Garmsir, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.
Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese son of Larry Giese and Connie Wascovich
Died January 7, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Jan. 7 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.
Sgt. Louis Torres son of Albert Torres and Armanda Ellis. who was fatally injured Aug. 6 in Afghanistan Sgt. Torres lost his battle with his wounds on August 22, 2012 .Torres was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
As long time readers are aware, a small koi- a Ghost Koi- was slipped into the pond on the last Mother’s Day my son and I shared –
Oh! Chris ! why would you buy another Koi? you know they never survive the winter”
“I needed to get this one and it’s Mother’s Day so you have to accept it “
And the next Mother’s Day was one of pain and cruelty unasked for “notes” from his bride had arrived - Angela Marie (Lombardi Ritchey) Murphy) Angela Murphy Do http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
days and nights of water changes medicine but the Ghost Koi continued.
Then came the winter of my nightmares. The extreme cold caused the waterfall, which is made from a concrete like substance, to crack causing the water to leak out of the pond. The temperature was cold enough to freeze the mighty Niagara so even with heaters and aerator the water froze.
The day the concrete falls cracked open we lost nearly half the water in the pond. My husband had to first unfreeze the spickets and hoses in order to fill the pond to a level where the pumps would work. He then had to bypass the falls with piping in order to keep the water flowing, but the pipe would freeze. The pipe then had to insulated with a sleeve like design made out of a sleeping bag. Unfortunately, Shadow took great delight in pulling this off every chance she got.
My husband spent hours trying to keep the pond open in order for the gasses to escape and keep the fish safe. There was many a day he was out there in the 10 below temperature almost willing the water to run and the ice not to form. There were days that found me lying flat on my stomach in the snow chipping away at the ice on the end of the piping so the pump would continue. All for a fish , a fish given on that last Mothers Day.
Spring has come late this year. The pond is usually up and running and the fish awake by late March but it has only been in recent days life has returned to the pond . The water is still murky but a Ghost Koi, larger now than ever before, swims under the water fall once more and reminds me of a another Mother’s Day……..
Friday, was Mother’s Day for me , my mum, Nikki and two little boys went to the “fish” restaurant of choice “Red Lobster”. The boys eagerly watched two lobsters fighting in the tank but ate macaroni and cheese.
Then on to Pandys and Lowes for plants. I am not sure there will be any rhyme or reason to the garden this year as Gavin and Braedyn loved the plant shopping and filling the carts to overflowing. Certainly not paying attention to directions of “sun – full sun – shade partial shade” . Little hands distributing love and flowers , excitement in innocent eyes as they picked up more and more . There should be some interesting plantings this year because each plant was given with love and so couldn’t be put back.
My tears falling once more, my heart in hurt as I remember when a little girl and her brother would look up with the same excitement in their eyes as they gave their Mother’s Day gifts and one Mother’s Day when a small silver fish was slipped into a pond – a ghost of remembrance and a love that grows…